BSNL bags 80% of Rs 2,500-crore rural mobile telephony project
New Delhi, March 28. (PTI): State-owned BSNL has bagged about 80 per cent of the Department of Telecom's Rs 2,500 crore rural mobile telephony project, for which bids were invited by the Universal Service Obligation Fund to build about 8,000 mobile towers.
These decisions were taken late on Monday night by the USOF when it finalised the bids of various operators based on lowest amount. BSNL will set up about 6,000 mobile towers.
Official sources said, USOF has got the about 30 per cent less than the benchmark bidding rate in Part A (for building Passive Infrastructure like setting up mobile towers) due to severe competition and bidders' interest.
For setting up passive infrastructure, the whole country was divided into 81 clusters. The bids for 80 clusters were finalised on Monday and for one cluster re-bidding will be done later as there was a tie between the third and fourth bidders.
Out of 80, 63 clusters went BSNL, 4 to GTL, one to Hughes Escorts Communications Ltd: 3 to Hutch Essar (south), four to National Information Technology and one to Quipo Infrastructure Ltd, while Reliance Communication Infrastructure Ltd qualified for four clusters.
Lot of re-bidding will be done so that the financial aspect is clubbed with rolling out of mobile services.
For rolling out of mobile services - referred as Part B, out of the 81 clusters, decision on 10 was taken on March 16 which had gone to BSNL, Dishnet Wireless and Reliance Communications.
For 14 clusters, the decision was taken on Monday and for the remaining 57 clusters, re-bidding will take place because of a tie, as they require only three operators. There was a tie between the third and fourth operators.
In part B, the bid has gone to zero and at many places it is negative.
The Department of Telecom had invited tenders in two parts -- Part A related to giving USO support to those companies who would set up and manage passive mobile infrastructure like, towers, base stations, antennas, backhaul, power-back -- while the Part B of the tender related to rolling out mobile and fixed wireless services.
In the bidding process, the bids were finalised for the 80 clusters on Monday and for one cluster rebidding will be done because of tie.
Out of the 18 bidders to begin with, 15 bidders will go into the next round for Part B's re-bidding.